The fight between Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, and the Commander of Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) in the state, Mr. Akin Fakorede, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), worsened yesterday with the governor describing Fakorede as “a disgrace to the Nigeria Police Force and a threat to lives and democracy.”
The governor, it was learnt was displeased by reports that he offered N50 million to the F-SARS commander in Rivers, in the presence of the National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, to work with him (Wike), but that Fakorede rejected the offer, making the governor to be publishing false advertisements against him on the front and inside pages of major national newspapers.
Fakorede, having earlier been exonerated by the Inspector- General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, of all the allegations levelled against him by Wike and the Rivers government, got the IGP’s authorisation to sue Wike and his administration. Fakorede’s lawyer, Ayodele Akintunde, SAN, on Wednesday gave seven-day ultimatum for retraction and unreserved apology on front pages of national newspapers that published the advertisements, twice the number of times, while demanding N2 billion damages for the publications.
The lawyer demanded that the Rivers State government must also give a written undertaking never again to publish any similar libel against his client in future. When contacted yesterday evening to react to the latest development, Fakorede stated that he would not want to take issue with Wike, his allies and Rivers government, since his lawyer is handling the matter. Wike, through the state’s Commissioner for Information and Communications, Chief Emma Okah, a lawyer, claimed that Fakorede’s ‘threat’ to drag Wike and Rivers government to court for libel was a joke of the century, stating that such suit was welcome and that it would afford the administration the opportunity to “expose” the Rivers commander of F-SARS. Wike said: “The Rivers State government stands by the various publications complained of by Mr. Fakorede, a man who has no shame. ” Rivers governor also likened the commander of F-SARS in Rivers to the proverbial satanic pig that would eat the crops of the farmer and would still wait in ambush to attack him, instead of running away.
He stated that Rivers government would stand shoulder to shoulder with Fakorede and his unnamed sponsors, in defence of the rights of Rivers people to freely choose who would represent them through free and fair elections, as other Nigerians were entitled to. Wike said: “Rivers State government is eagerly waiting for the court processes and we dare Mr. Fakorede to put his reputation to test. “Mr. Fakorede is taking advantage of the rising moral decay in our society.” On the demand for N2 billion as compensation for libel, the Rivers governor described Fakorede as a gold digger, wondering the basis for such a ‘laughable’ claim. He said:”Even though, nobody is infallible, the minimum course of sensible conduct expected of Mr. Fakorede against the background of the wrong he has inflicted in Rivers State is to apologise and seek God’s face. Certainly, a hollow threat of litigation is far below expectation.
“We expect that he (FSARS commander in Rivers) will heed this advice and act well, by treating Rivers people with deserving respect and dignity.” Fakorede, in his request to IGP for authorisation, with reference number: C B : 3 9 6 0 / R V S / F – SARS/VOL.2/8, which was passed through Rivers Police Commissioner, Zaki Ahmed, and dated May 15, 2018, stated that he wanted permission to institute legal action, seeking an injunction against the continuous publication of the false advertisements against him. Rivers commander of FSARS said in the request letter:
“In the last one month, the Rivers State government has taken up paid advertisements on the front and inside pages of major national dailies in the country, alleging falsely that some staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), specifically one Mary Tunkoyo and Dr. C. Odekpe were assaulted by my person and I am presently engaging in the plotting, training, recruiting and arming of a special squad in Kaduna, Abuja and Port Harcourt, for the purpose of rigging the 2019 elections. “These allegations are not only false, but are very malicious, more so considering the fact that the socalled INEC report has been investigated extensively by the IGP’s Special Investigation Panel and I was completely and totally exonerated from blame, as the evidence of all the parties attest to our (F-SARS operatives’) good work of protecting INEC staff under attack.